Code-breaking is not about programs. It is about leadership values that “spring from the firm knowledge that following Jesus is a way of life that transforms us to be the incarnation of Christ in every culture” (p. 72).
Stetzer identifies six areas that “intermesh with leadership effectiveness” (p. 73). They need Calling and create opportunities to break the code. Character enables leaders to influence in a healthy way when their words and actions are aligned. Competency means they figure it out on their own, though they learn from others. Comprehension means they are learners and take in everything they can on their context and their calling as well as learning from a mentor. Commitment is the greatest challenge for leaders and breaking the code requires it. Finally, Courage, which is an underestimated value, but these leaders need to be “almost rude about vision” and make the tough calls.
Code breakers make disciples and, even if they aren’t good disciplers, they put processes in place that help people move toward maturity. Maturity can look different in different contexts, but it boils down to Living Like Jesus Lived (humility and service), Loving Like Jesus Loved (a commitment lived out in behavior), and Leaving Behind What Jesus Left Behind (people who lived and loved like Him).
Reaching the Unchurched/Unreached
There has to be more than talking about evangelism and actually doing it. Actually doing it will make some in the pews uncomfortable. It often leads to dissatisfaction where people want more “meat.” Stetzer states, “Ironically, that ‘deep meat’ is often a focus on the obscure or unclear in Scripture rather than on the life-changing nature of what is clear” (p. 80). Amen.
If we’re really focused on the unchurched/unreached, we need to ask where they are, who they are, why they are unreached (what are the barriers – image, cultural, and gospel – the last is the only legitimate one), and seeing what God is doing among the unreached and join God in what He’s up to.
Much of our evangelism is a matter of having people convert to the church. Rather, we need to effectively evangelize in a way that connects them to community, a common experience, and service, but that isn’t necessarily moving into a whole new way of “church life.”
The gospel travels “best among relational lines” (p. 84). The social relationships playing into conversion is similar to the NT household conversions as well as villages being brought to Jesus.
Key quote: “We are inviting them to experience the life that takes place within the Christian community” (p. 85). I’ve read another book that talks about people belonging before they believe (ChurchNext by Eddie Gibbs). Stetzer notes, “In a missional context, individuals often begin the discipling process long before conversion” (p. 85).
People are eager to volunteer and missional churches put them to work and, through volunteerism, their lives get changed. Stetzer: “We have found that when people are involved in ministry, something happens that speeds up the process of their spiritual journey … that opens a person’s spirit up to consider deeper spiritual issues” (p. 86).
Culturally Relevant Expressions of Church
This is basic missions. People have to know “God speaks my language” (p. 86). The next chapter will deal with this.
Spiritual Warfare as Spiritual Formation
Part of breaking the code is to address the things that are opposed to the work of God in the area and face them head-on by praying for people and that God will break strongholds.
The Breaking the Code Challenge
1. Identify the values that you must have if you are going to break the code.
2. Which of these values challenge you the most?
3. How can you put these values into action?